Queensrÿche: Queensrÿche

Prog-metallers, minus Geoff Tate, make fresh start.

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Hell hath no fury like an angry metal frontman scorned. The last men standing in the Seattle line-up have felt the wrath of their erstwhile vocalist (dramatically fired last year amid a maelstrom of titanic band politics) and then some. But after the recent Geoff Tate Queensrÿche incarnation wielded rather less fire than anticipated, a beckoning space for the real deal materialised.

Does this fit the bill? For the most part, yes, and in Todd La Torre they have a highly capable Geoff replacement. Queensrÿche is a statement of brooding, atmospheric intent – muddling pensive progressive sensibilities with strident heavy metal decadence. And while signs of wandering hover nervously over various moody stretches, it’s a classy product; clearly tapping into producer James Barton’s Metallica, Rush etc experience.

X2 piques the appetite, channelling horsemen of the apocalypse vibes, before melancholy serenades shine through tracks like In This Light, while Fallout embraces an optimum blend of catchy-but-not-too-catchy chorus and soaring-meets-crunchy tone – music for the thinking but not too humourless metalhead. It’s not quite up there with majestic hey-day offerings, but there’s loads to reinvigorate the enthusiasm of fans disenchanted by recent ill feelings.